Atheists Are Less Evolved Than Theists
EDIT: I wrote this article a few weeks back, and the article has since been removed. I’m not sure why it was removed, whether it slipped through their moderation processes, or whether it was in fact a POE article, and was detected. I will post this article anyway, as I have seen similar discussions about similar topics, and this may add to the conversation. There is a transcript of the article on the JREF forums. Thanks to @NereadersDigest for help finding it, and LarianLeQuella for catching the article before it was deleted!
I recently read an op-ed piece on the Conservative soapbox website of one Mark Alexander entitled The Patriot Post, which seems to me to be a place where nationalism is rife, and any truly liberal-minded thought is kept either at bay completely or in the wings. The article (by Tom Davis, from Tuesday, January 10, 2012) made claims that atheists are so lowly, so deluded and so despicable that they should not be included in the species Homo Sapiens. At first I thought it was a spoof; surely nobody really thinks like this, but the more I read, the more I think it’s an honest piece, that the author truly believes what he is saying.
It reminds me of the kinds of hatespeak that come from racists who claim that people of darker skin are less evolved than people of lighter skin, which of course we know is a lie. It simply reeks of fallacy, and doesn’t really deserve a retort, except that someone commented below agreeing with the lunacy being spouted.
The op-ed article in question was entitled “Do atheists deserve recognition?”
Straight away this article made spurious claims, that atheists aren’t as evolved as religious people, simply because they “deny God”. This “denial” is an assertion often made, and its premise is all wrong, for one reason. Atheists don’t “deny” God at all, instead they see no reason that god exists, nor that there is anything in the universe that can’t be explained needing the invocation of God to do so. This is far from denial, in fact I go so far as to say it is actually a social evolutionary advantage, to be able to think beyond the taught dogmas and doctrines of religious institutionalisation and examine the universe based on what is observable, testable, and if need be, falsifiable. Rather than deny God’s existence, an atheist simply dismisses the premise as ludicrous because there is nothing to point in that direction. Try as they may to be the truth-holders in the debate, the more we learn, the further away the God of their beliefs seems to move, and the smaller the gaps in understanding for God to inhabit become. So rather than rehash the arguments about teapots and elves, let’s move on shall we?
Back up on the high horse, the writer continued his trainwreck of thought by asking if Neanderthal should be consider Homo Sapiens based on the question of whether Neanderthals had a religion or not. Well Neanderthal are considered different enough to homosapien to be seen as a separate species, or at bare minimum a sub-species, so the religion part doesn’t factor into that question. What it raises is the point of this entire diatribe of ill-conceived pap; one needs religion to be considered human. This kind of thinking is dangerous, especially from a humanist standpoint, for it is much easier to disenfranchise, enslave, or kill someone or something perceived to be less than human.
Further down, after casting aspersions on atheist activists, the author turns their hand toward Stephen Hawking who he claims:
“… realized but could or would not bring him to state the obvious; God is the Singularity. He is the Beginning, Middle and End of our universe.”
Ah, the ultimate God-gap, the claim that simply because the origins of the universe are not understood, that of course the answer is that “God did it.” The author loses the argument here, as at any point in an argument when the arguer throws up their hands and says “I don’t know, so God did it,” the God-claimant has forfeited their right to continue arguing, for no progress can be made from this point.
Back to the article, the writer continues with his conclusion, based on assumptions and stuff he made up on the fly.
“Conclusion: Atheists fail to reach that level of development in which they can be included in the species Homo sapiens. They look but do not see; they see but do not recognize. These Godless souls are the world’s true paupers. Atheists deserve no recognition beyond that of Genus Homo.”
Right so it all becomes clear now. “Homo” meaning man, and “Sapiens” meaning wise, the author now makes it clear what he means. Atheists aren’t wise enough to be classified in the same way as the religious because we don’t believe in God? Is religious belief a sign of wisdom, or is it the inverse, that coming to a conclusion based on facts and knowledge, that God does not exist is a sign of wisdom? For the thousands of years mankind has existed, the belief in God and gods was a stopgap measure in the seeking of truth, about the world, about nature, and about ourselves. As time has progressed we have answered the many questions brought up by our existences.
As I said before, many of these gaps in knowledge have been replaced with facts, and the old ways, which revolved around mystical beliefs such as those held in religion, have been left by the wayside in favor of more plausible explanations. Wisdom is the product of knowledge plus experience, not ignorance plus stagnation. If I were petty I’d say that maybe it is theists who should be left out of the species Homo Sapiens, but I’m not. I’m smart and wise enough to realize that this is nothing but slanderous behavior designed to give the author an air of superiority.
Again, I wonder whether the article in question was even tackling, badly written, ill-informed and so socially backward that it should have been dismissed straight away. However these kinds of attitudes do exist, and real people hold them. Let this just serve as an example of the kind of backward thinking that permeates much of the religious world. I know we will see more in times to come.